Strong Dollar Awaits Jobs Report to Validate Further Fed Hikes

The US dollar is mixed against major pairs on Friday. The dollar gained against the JPY, EUR, GBP and CHF but depreciated against the commodity pairs (CAD, AUD and NZD).

Fundamental data in the US supported the dollar: the Fed delivered its anticipated third rate hike of 2018, the final GDP for the second quarter was 4.2 percent. Fed Chair Powell’s speech and press conference after the FOMC was a big factor in the rise of the dollar after the market had already priced in the 25 basis points lift to interest rates. Mr Powell will speak next week on Tuesday, October 2nd on the topic of employment and inflation. This will officially kick off jobs week in the US.

The main event will be the release of the biggest economic indicator on Friday, October 5 at 8:30 am when the U.S. non farm payrolls (NFP) is published.

  • US manufacturing and service PMIs could signal growth slowdown
  • UK leading indicators expected to remain flat
  • US NFP report to show economy added 190,000 jobs

Euro Hit by Political Turmoil and Inflation Softness

The EUR/USD lost 0.26 percent on Friday. The single currency is trading at 1.1610 and accumulated 1.16 percent in losses during the week. A higher than predicted Italian budget for 2019 at 2.4 percent and softer core inflation in the eurozone put downward pressure on the currency.



European stock markets were hit by the news as political turmoil once again threatens the European Union.

The other shoe dropped when inflation slowed down in the Eurozone in the same week that the U.S. Federal Reserve hiked rates and was optimistic about economic growth in the US.

The monetary policy divergence between the Fed and other major central banks was clear this week as fundamentals back the US policy makers, while questions remain on how effective other policy makers around the world have been.

Loonie Rises as GDP Data Validates October Rate Hike

The Canadian dollar rose on Friday after the monthly gross domestic product (GDP) beat the forecast with a 0.2 percent gain. The loonie is up almost 1 percent on the final day of the trading week. The currency is still showing a weekly loss against the greenback as NAFTA uncertainty and the U.S. Federal Reserve rate announcement put downward pressure.

The rise today comes with higher expectations of a Canadian interest rate lift in October. The Bank of Canada (BoC) held rates in September ahead of a highly anticipated Fed rate hike in September that came to pass. The US central bank has forecasted another rate hike in 2018 and 2 or 3 more next year as part of its economic projections published Wednesday.


usdcad Canadian dollar graph, September 28, 2018

BoC Governor Stephen Poloz spoke on Thursday addressing the rising inflation and Friday’s GDP data point puts a rate hike firmly on the table in the short term.

NAFTA negotiations have not made big inroads as the US met with Canada with the goal of turning two bilateral agreements into a trilateral one.

With a considerable amount of work still to be done in bridging the gap between US and Canada, the US-Mexico agreement will be published tonight with a possibility of leaving the door open for Canada to join.

It is that possibility that has kept the loonie gaining despite the NAFTA train moving without Canada.

Crude Surges as Supply Concerns Push Prices to 4 Year Highs

Oil prices surged on Friday as supply concerns took crude to four year highs. The news that China is cutting back on Iranian oil purchases triggered a rally where Brent and WTI had a 1.40 percent one-day gain. Brent is on track to a 5.34 percent gain during the week with WTI clocking in at 3.66 percent.

The US sanctions against Iran don’t kick into effect until November, but the harsh penalties threatened against those who do have made Iranian crude purchases drop.


West Texas Intermediate graph

China’s Sinopec Corp is slashing its loadings in half to avoid the wrath of Washington. In August Sinopec planned to offer Tehran a lifeline by circumventing the sanctions as it reduced US oil purchases due to the rising trade turmoil between the US and China.

The decision by the Chinese state owned energy company will deal a huge blow to Iran as China is its biggest customer.


West Texas Intermediate graph

The shortfall from Iranian crude sales does not have a short term solution after US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said earlier this week that the US would not tap into its emergency crude reserves to bring prices down.

US President Donald Trump had implied during his UN General Assembly speech that unless the OPEC increase production levels America’s would utilize its position as the largest energy producer in the world.

Gold Gains But US Dollar to Limit Recovery

Gold rose 0.67 percent on Friday but the strength of the US dollar after the U.S. Federal Reserve lifted interest rates this week proved to be too much for the yellow metal that will end up losing 0.49 percent on a weekly basis.

The Fed raised the benchmark rate by 25 basis points and the futures market is pricing in a 78.5 percent probability of a lift in December. Gold traders will look ahead at next week’s manufacturing and service PMIs for more guidance as the US economy continues to grow. Friday’s U.S. non farm payrolls (NFP) will be the final test of the yellow metal.



The US is expected to add 190,000 jobs with average hourly earning rising 0.3 percent. Higher inflation expectations validate the Fed’s forecasts and the market is pricing in a rate hike in December and follow ups in 2019.

Market events to watch this week:

Monday, October 1
4:30am GBP Manufacturing PMI
10:00am USD ISM Manufacturing PMI
Tuesday, October 2
12:30am AUD Cash Rate
12:30am AUD RBA Rate Statement
4:30am GBP Construction PMI
12:45pm USD Fed Chair Powell Speaks
Wednesday, October 3
4:30am GBP Services PMI
8:15am USD ADP Non-Farm Employment Change
10:00am USD ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI
10:30am USD Crude Oil Inventories
Thursday, October 4
9:30pm AUD Retail Sales m/m
Friday, October 5
8:30am CAD Employment Change
8:30am CAD Trade Balance
8:30am USD Average Hourly Earnings m/m
8:30am USD Non-Farm Employment Change

*All times EDT
For a complete list of scheduled events in the forex market visit the MarketPulse Economic Calendar

Dollar Regains Ground Ahead of Fed Minutes

Higher US inflation fails to spark dollar revival

The US dollar depreciated across the board versus major pairs despite consumer prices rising more than expected. Inflation anxiety had triggered a sell-off in global stock markets with the Fed expected to ramp up their interest rate hike path yet the dollar did not benefit as higher rates have already been priced in by the market. Fiscal uncertainty driven by political factors continue to confound investors with stock indices rebounding this week and the dollar hitting a 2014 low. The paradox in consumer spending and retail sales continues as Americans remain confident in the economic outlook yet core retail sales remain flat and taking into consideration auto sales they actually dropped by 0.5 percent. The dollar showed some signs of life on Friday as it gained against a basket of major pairs, but not enough to offset the losses earlier in the week.

  • Fed to release minutes of January meeting
  • Kuroda renominated as Governor of Bank of Japan (BOJ)
  • Lower trading activity with start of Chinese New Year celebrations and 3 day weekend in NA

Dollar Recovers on Friday But Still Underwater this Week



The EUR/USD gained 1.62 percent in the last five days. The single currency is trading at 1.2448 with the EUR recovering against the earlier losses versus the USD suffered earlier in the month. US inflation rose more than expected and US treasuries dropped in prices as investors sold them anticipating higher rates this year. Bond yields rose with the 10 year at four year highs (2.93 percent). The correlation between higher yields and a stronger currency is broken at the moment for the USD as the confidence in the stability of the US economy is up for debate. Fundamentals are strong and would point to a higher dollar, but political uncertainty around fiscal stimulus has made it hard to quantify the effects of actual and proposed legislation on the currency. The U.S. Federal Reserve will publish the minutes from its January Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting on Wednesday, February 21 at 2:00 pm EST. The meeting was the last presided by Chair Janet Yellen and is not expected to bring any surprises, but could prepare the market on what to expect in March when Chair Jerome Powell heads his first FOMC.

The USD went through a topsy-turvy week, with Wednesday’s release of consumer price index data providing the most volatility. The market forecasts were slightly improved with a 0.3 percent monthly gain. The employment report in February 2 was the first data point that suggested a stronger inflationary pressure. Stock markets had already suffered two difficult weeks and the dollar rose as the inflation data was released only to quickly give back all gains and end up in the red.

President’s day in the US will give some investors a much needed rest from a high octane trading week. The Lunar New Year celebrations will also affect trading volumes as Hong Kong and China markets will remain closed until Thursday. Stock markets had a positive week after stronger corporate results erased earlier losses.



The USD/JPY lost 2.38 percent during the week. The currency pair is trading at 106.19 as the JPY keeps gaining. The government issued a statement where it was clear there is no need for intervention and the market took it as a sign to keep buying the yen. The tone changed slightly on Friday as the currency kept appreciating and there were some warning that the trade is one sided. The softness of the USD and uncertainty about how the American government will deal with growing twin deficits and political drama has boosted the JPY due to some safe haven flows.

The reappointment of BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda along with other nominations of economist who favour further easing did not factor into Yen pricing in the short term, but should impact the growing gap between rates in Japan and the United States. In the short term, lack of stability in politics and fiscal uncertainty are overriding higher growth and interest rate expectations in the US.



Oil prices advanced during the week. The price of West Texas Intermediate is trading at $61.21 with most of the gains in energy coming from dollar softness. Oil prices suffered losses earlier in the month as higher production in Canada, Brazil and the United States is anticipated given the high prices and producers in those nations not bound to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) production cut agreement. Lack of traction of the US currency is keeping prices above $60.

A small rise in oil rigs in Baker Hughes was not enough to derail energy prices specially with an underlying weak US dollar. The OPEC agreement with other major producers has stabilized oil prices after the freewill caused by overproduction. The question remains if demand for energy has recovered to the point that even after the agreement timeline runs out supply will not once again outweigh demand causing another drop in prices.

Market events to watch this week:

Monday, February 19
7:30pm AUD Monetary Policy Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, February 21
4:30am GBP Average Earnings Index 3m/y
9:15am GBP Inflation Report Hearings
2:00pm USD FOMC Meeting Minutes
Thursday, February 22
4:30am GBP Second Estimate GDP q/q
8:30am CAD Core Retail Sales m/m
11:00am USD Crude Oil Inventories
4:45pm NZD Retail Sales q/q
Friday, February 23
8:30am CAD CPI m/m

*All times EST
For a complete list of scheduled events in the forex market visit the MarketPulse Economic Calendar